Wednesday’s papers: Mubaraks detained, heated trials of former officials continue

Former President Hosni Mubarak’s detention fills the headlines of Wednesday’s papers as he and his two sons face interrogation about their involvement in the deaths of protesters, corruption and other wrongdoing.

Even though it adopted an anti-regime tone following the revolution, the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper seems to have maintained its old connections as it had all the inside details of the investigations.

Following mixed reports about the president’s health yesterday, Al-Ahram had conflicting information. The paper wrote that Mubarak suffered a drop in blood pressure and then wrote he had suffered a severe heart attack and was transferred to Sharm el-Sheikh International Hospital where the interrogations continued after his condition stabilized. Al-Ahram also reported that Gamal and Alaa Mubarak were questioned at the headquarters of a sovereign authority.

The independent Al-Shorouk newspaper highlighted the mystery surrounding Mubarak’s investigation, reporting that while German news agency DPA announced Mubarak’s arrival in South Sinai for interrogation, Al-Ahram’s online portal said that he was flown to Jordan for medical treatment.

In an interview in Al-Ahram, potential presidential candidate Judge Hesham el-Bastawisi said Mubarak should be prosecuted for killing protesters before he is prosecuted for the money he allegedly stole. El-Bastawisi also reportedly said democracy and fair distribution of wealth are the most important points of his campaign agenda.  

Privately-owned weekly Youm7 wrote of a conspiracy theory suggesting an elaborate plan supported by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia to smuggle the Mubaraks out of the country. In a piece that lacked solid evidence, the newspaper quoted “a source close to the presidential palace” who detailed the family’s planned escape to Saudi Arabia with the help of Israel.

Youm7’s front-page headline reads “The liar” above a story quoting Hossam Eissa, the head of a group tasked with recovering Egypt’s stolen assets, who says he has evidence contradicting Mubarak’s claim that he does not have assets abroad. In a piece based on speculation more than investigation, the newspaper interprets the events of the last few days to be an American intelligence plan to hinder Egypt’s regional influence. According to the piece, the CIA’s plan is to weaken the military by creating rifts between it and the people, to push Palestinian Hamas to Sinai and to smuggle Mubarak out of the country with Egypt’s stolen fortunes.

The ongoing trials of former regime officials were also featured in today’s newspapers. Al-Ahram reports a court decision to extend the detention of former National Democratic Party Secretary General Safwat al-Sherif for 15 days despite his denial that he participated in the 2 February attack on protesters. The newspaper also reported that the defense team of former People’s Assembly Speaker Fathi Sorour denied all charges against him.

Youm7 headlined its coverage of the trials “The corrupted tell on each other,” reporting that former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif testified against Gamal Mubarak while Zakareya Azmi, the president’s former chief of staff, accused him of receiving commissions from foreigners.

Al-Wafd newspaper reported that members of the public accompanied al-Sherif from Lazoghly Square to Tora Prison, celebrating the decision to detain him for 15 days. Meanwhile, Al-Shorouk reported that al-Sherif’s first words to Nazif as he joined him in jail were “the revolution’s kids got us imprisoned.”

Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

Youm7: Weekly, privately owned

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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